Tigers reach state softball finals
On Thursday afternoon, Douglas High softball coach John Glover spoke about the pros and cons of relying on the long ball.
“I’d rather we didn’t live and die by the home run,” he said with a smile at that time.
One day later, Rylee Retzer hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning to give Spanish Springs its first lead on the way to a 4-3 win over Douglas in the winners bracket final during the NIAA 4A State Tournament at Bishop Manogue High School in Reno.
Douglas (24-12-1) came back in an elimination game later in the afternoon and kept its season alive by defeating Shadow Ridge, 5-1, sparked by Casey Peck’s three-run homer in the first inning.
By winning, the Tigers earned a 10 a.m. rematch on Saturday against Spanish Springs (32-3), which is one win away from its fifth state championship since 2007. If necessary, the teams would play again for the state title at noon on the Manogue diamond.
Douglas has lost three straight games to Spanish Springs in the region and state tournaments — by scores of 4-3, 9-3 and 4-3 — and Retzer has homered with runners on base in each of those games. The junior center fielder also hit a walk-off home run in the eighth inning on Thursday to lift the Cougars past Shadow Ridge in their state opener, 7-6.
Douglas took a 2-0 lead in the third inning when Jasmine McNinch singled with one out and Haley Doughty drove the first pitch she saw over the left field fence. The home run was Doughty’s second of the state tournament and sixth during this postseason.
Spanish Springs answered in the home half of the fourth. With one out, Amidore Anderson hit a drive to the left field fence that caromed off the fielder’s glove and over the fence for a home run that put the Cougars on the scoreboard. Kaylah House walked with two outs. Then Retzer, the No. 8 hitter in the lineup, drove the first pitch she saw over the left field fence make it, 3-2.
Douglas tied the score in the fifth when Mackenzie Brixie led with a single, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by McNinch and scored when Doughty singled to center field. Chloie Pratt followed with another single, however, Spanish Springs ended the inning when shortstop Courtney Huff turned a ground ball 6-3 double play.
The Cougars took the lead for good in the fifth when Katelyn Townsend reached on an infield hit, advanced on Alysa Micone’s sacrifice bunt and scored when Aubrey Parks singled to left.
Amanda Hoffman pitched well in a complete game five-hitter for Douglas. Sophomore Tyra Clary also went the distance for Spanish Springs and allowed seven hits, but retired the final seven batters (three on strikeouts) she faced to end the game.
DOUGLAS 5, SHADOW RIDGE 1
Peck’s home run staked the Tigers to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first and provided all the support pitcher Deztiny Vaughan would need against the Sunset Region champion Shadow Ridge Mustangs.
Vaughan pitched a complete game, allowed seven hits and two walks to go with two strikeouts. The Tigers also played errorless ball in the field.
Pratt hit a two-out solo home run in the third inning and Alyssa Smokey homered to lead off the fourth to provide insurance runs. Six different Tigers have combined to hit 16 home runs in eight region and state tournament games.
Smokey, Doughty and Pratt connected for two hits each to lead the Tigers offensively.